I'm Pregnant. What do I Wear?
One challenge that pregnant women are faced with is buying maternity clothes. While it can seem like 'just another expense and disadvantage to being pregnant', I recommend having fun with it. There are many joys to being pregnant. There are also many downfalls. I like to look at maternity shopping as a joy, even though it can get costly.
It can be exciting for anyone to go clothes shopping, pregnant or not. The difference between the two is that when you go shopping for maternity clothes, it is a whole new experience. Maternity clothes shopping is something that can be used to accentuate your new, beautiful body. Use this time to bond with your spouse, other family members, or friends. It's not something you get to do every day.
When to go Maternity Shopping:
A good rule of thumb is to never wear tight-fitting clothing. It is not good for you or your baby. It really depends on the person as to when you NEED to stop wearing your normal clothes and start wearing maternity. It depends on how fast your belly and the rest of your body is growing. It also depends on how tight your 'normal' clothes were before conceiving.
When I first decided to go maternity shopping, I was 16 weeks pregnant. I knew it was time to go because I had outgrown most of my pants. I had only been able to comfortably fit in two pairs. Plus, my shirts weren't very form fitting. Honestly, it looked like I was getting fat instead of being pregnant. That's when I knew it was time to start shopping.
Bring Someone with You
Like I said, maternity shopping should be exciting. You should use this time to bond with a close friend, family member, or your spouse. It is not something you get to do together every day. The person you bring with you can be able to help you pick out clothes. If you feel self-conscious, that person will most certainly make you feel gorgeous.
I brought my boyfriend, Jason, with me each time I went maternity shopping. In all actuality, I had never taken him clothes shopping with me before, so it was certainly a bonding experience. He picked out a few things he wanted to see me wear, and I also picked out some clothes. If I felt self-conscious and didn't want to show him how I looked, he encouraged me to show him anyway. He was able to make me feel beautiful.
Taking him maternity shopping is something that I really enjoyed and I always look back on it with a smile.
Basic Tips and Tricks to Maternity Shopping:
You may be wondering what size clothes you should get since your body is growing. Most maternity clothes nowadays, especially clothes in maternity stores (such as Motherhood Maternity) are made to grow with you throughout your pregnancy. The general rule is that you will want to get the same size as you normally would in shirts and blouses. If you normally wore a medium in shirts, then you'd want to stick to that.
When you went pants shopping before conceiving, you went by number, such as 6 or 9. In maternity, they are measured by small, medium, and large. They probably vary depending on where you shop, but basically, if you were a size 6-11 in jeans before becoming pregnant, you'll want to get a size medium in pants. If you were smaller than that, get a small. If you were larger than that, get a large.
As far as fashion goes, the same basic rules still apply. Black is slimming. Vertical stripes make you look thinner. Horizontal stripes will make you look wider (even though I bought shirts with horizontal stripes and it looks good).
Showing off your baby bump is very popular these days. It used to be that many women tried to hide their growing belly. While I like wearing big t-shirts every once in a while, just as any other person does, it is really not very flattering for a pregnant woman. Buying maternity clothes that show off your new belly is what I recommend. You will feel more confident and sexy. Don't try to hide it with big t-shirts, hoodies (unless it's wintertime and you're cold), and baggy pants or sweat pants. If you shop at a maternity store, they will have different types of clothes: clothes that will really accentuate and show off your belly, and clothes that don't show it off as much (but are still very fashionable).
Even though it is popular to show off your baby bump, you should keep it covered up in public. Going out in public with a belly-baring shirt is uncomfortable to the people around you. You may get some strange looks. While you may be confident in your new body (and I'm glad if you are), it is always best to be a little modest in the way you dress. Remember, you are going to be a mom soon. Plus, UV rays will be penetrating you and your belly, making stretch marks and your possible Linea Nigra darker.
Stretchy fabric, and breathable clothes are always good. Most maternity clothes are made stretchy and of breathable material (such as cotton). If you find something that is not like that, you should put it back and look for something else. Stretchy fabric will last as you grow and breathable fabric is good; it is especially good during the summer.
Avoid itchy clothes. Usually maternity clothes should not be itchy, but if they are, don't buy them. It will only get worse as your pregnancy gets further along. Your belly gets naturally more itchy, so if you wear itchy clothes, it will only make it worse.
As far as shoes go, wear flats. Your feet will thank you. During pregnancy, your feet will probably swell. If you wear shoes that are uncomfortable, you increase that risk. Plus, when pregnant, you generally become more clumsy. Wearing heels will make it much easier for you to fall, which can potentially cause harm to your unborn baby.
Bras won't need to be bought until you are further along in your pregnancy. You will more than likely need to buy some during your 3rd trimester. You are going to want to wait until your breasts get larger and you start lactating.
If the clothes seem just a tad bit big when you try them on, stick with it! Remember, if you buy maternity clothes around 16 weeks pregnant, you haven't finished growing. Even though the clothes 'grow with you', that doesn't mean that your new jeans will grow along with your hips. You haven't finished growing yet. Not only has your belly not stopped growing yet, but the rest of you hasn't finished either (hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, etc).
The most important thing to remember when shopping for maternity clothes is that they should always be COMFORTABLE. Don't try on just one pair of pants. Try on multiple different styles. See which one works for you. Definitely do not buy anything that is already tight or uncomfortable in ANY way. It WON'T get any more comfortable after wearing it a few times.
I recommend going to a maternity store instead of a retail store or thrift store because the staff with be more knowledgeable. The clothing is usually guaranteed to last your whole entire pregnancy. The clothing is usually of higher quality and not for a much higher price than a retail store. They have all different types of fashionable clothing that you can pick from which will either show off your baby bump or keep it somewhat hidden.
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